Broadening Horizons: the Case for Capturing Function and the Role of Health Informatics in Its Use – BMC Public Health – article

Broadening Horizons: the Case for Capturing Function and the Role of Health Informatics in Its Use

Denis Newman-Griffis, Julia Porcino, Ayah Zirikly, Thanh Thieu, Jonathan Camacho Maldonado, Pei-Shu Ho, Min Ding, Leighton Chan, Elizabeth Rasch | BMC Public Health

2019-10-22

Human activity and the interaction between health conditions and activity is a critical part of understanding the overall function of individuals. The World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) models function as all aspects of an individual’s interaction with the world, including organismal concepts such as individual body structures, functions, and pathologies, as well as the outcomes of the individual’s interaction with their environment, referred to as activity and participation. Function, particularly activity and participation outcomes, is an important indicator of health at both the level of an individual and the population level, as it is highly correlated with quality of life and a critical component of identifying resource needs. Since it reflects the cumulative impact of health conditions on individuals and is not disease specific, its use as a health indicator helps to address major barriers to holistic, patient-centered care that result from multiple, and often competing, disease specific interventions. While the need for better information on function has been widely endorsed, this has not translated into its routine incorporation into modern health systems.

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